Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dark Honey Wheat Bread

When looking for a new bread recipe to try, I came across something that needed caramel color. Since I didn't have any on hand, and since Robyn and I had just tried doing it on Saturday (without the expected success), I decided I should try the process again. I got the instructions from this site.

Caramel Color

1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c water (divided use)

Combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil,stirring to dissolve sugar completely. Boil until sugar colors-this is how you make caramel.
Continue cooking until sugar turns black and starts to smoke.  Remove from heat and carefully add 1/4 cup water, then return to heat and stir until liquid. Pour into glass jar and use as needed.

It seems like it should be fairly straight-forward. However, they don't mention that it turns liquid, then powdery, then liquid again. Adding the water to the hot mixture causes it to turn solid. However, this time around I was expecting that, so I added it slowly while stirring vigorously. It seemed to help.
Combine sugar and water, bring to a boil, turns into syrup.
The water must evaporate, the mixture becomes powdery.
Keep stirring, it starts to melt again.
As it melts, it turns caramel colored.
Pour it into a jar and save for the next time you need caramel color.
Now, let's try the bread recipe!

Outback Bread Copy-cat Recipe

2 cups room temperature water* (100°-110°F)
1/4 cup butter, margarine or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons caramel color
1/2 cup honey
3 cups wheat flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons gluten
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour

Combine first 4 ingredients (water, oil, color, honey) and mix well. Pour wheat flour on top of wet ingredients. Add cocoa, yeast, gluten and salt. Stir until well blended. Allow mixture to sponge for 10 minutes.
That dab in the center is the caramel color that stuck to the side of the measuring cup; I added it after mixing everything else together.
Add all purpose flour, one cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and almost cleans the sides of mixer, about 3-4 minutes.

Allow to raise in the bowl, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled, about 20-30 minutes.

Divide into 8 piles, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Shape into loaves and roll in cornmeal. Place on greased cookie sheet or greased 5 x 2 1/2" mini loaf pans.

Allow to rise till double, about 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

This recipe can also make 3 medium  8 x 4" loaves, bake for 30-35 minutes, or  2 large 9 x 5" loaves, bake for 35-40 minutes. Recipe came from here originally.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Leprechaun Cookies

I know yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, but you probably already had your plans for celebrating in place, and now you can be prepared for next year. Or you can adapt this for another holiday. Easter is coming up soon! This is basically just a variation of our regular chocolate chip cookie recipe; decrease the amount of sugar and add pudding mix. However, they were just the way I like a cookie and totally delicious! It's always good to have some variety. Give them a try sometime!

Leprechaun Cookies
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pistachio dry pudding mix
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup green M&Ms
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. In an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Add extracts and pudding mix and eggs one at a time. Beat for 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to sugar mixture a little at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Add a drop or two of green food coloring at this point if you want a stronger green color. Stir in chocolate chips, green M&Ms, chopped nuts, and any other mix-ins you like!
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are turning slightly golden.

Note: I adapted the recipe from this source in case you want to try the original version.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

Yummy, yummy salad dressing - light and refreshing.
mushrooms, cucumber, celery, craisins and feta cheese

Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and toss with greens.

This version had pears, craisins and celery.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


This week we made a recipe that we first tried around 30 years ago. It was in a cookbook I received as a teenager, and Wayne decided to make every single recipe in it. And he did! Some we had to gag down, but not this one! This is another recipe that you need to plan ahead for, and it takes a bit of time, but it's worth it.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 square (1 ounce) semisweet chocolate, melted
1/2 recipe French Almond Custard or 1 cup vanilla pudding

Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender. With a fork, stir in sour cream until thoroughly blended. Divide the dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill at least 8 hours.

Roll one half of the dough on a well-floured board into a 12x10 inch rectangle. Cut into 15 rectangles, each 4x2 inches. mix sugar and water and brush on the rectangles. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 15 minutes at 350° until light brown. Cool. Repeat with other half.

Mix powdered sugar and milk until smooth; spread on 10 on the rectangles. Drizzle chocolate on the frosted rectangles. Stack 3 rectangles together with 1 tablespoon of custard/pudding between each and a frosted one on top. Makes 10.

French Almond Custard

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups light cream or milk
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon almond extract

Mix sugar, salt and cornstarch in a saucepan. Gradually stir in the light cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir one minutes. Remove from eat. Gradually stir about half the hot mixture into the egg yolks, then blend that mixture back into the saucepan. Boil and stir one more minute. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and almond extract. Chill before using to fill pastry. (This is delicious as a filling for cream puffs.) Makes 2 cups.

This time around I did make a couple of modifications, which included making only half of the pastry dough, and using a bit more flour because for some reason my Florida flour has more moisture in it so I need more in my baking. I then cut 2x2" squares instead of the larger rectangles; I wanted them to be a finger food. Because they were smaller, I baked them for 12 minutes instead of 15, and used a silicone mat so they didn't stick. I made a half recipe of the custard, but then only used half of that. Instead of making the frosting, I used some leftover frosting and ganache from the fridge. As you can probably tell, I'm not a very exact baker. Also, if you don't want to deal with making the pastry, you can definitely use frozen puff pastry, thawed and then baked, as the base. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

British Heritage Recipes

It's time once again to share "a recipe from your heritage" for our Relief Society potluck dinner this week. I've finally decided on Shepherd's Pie (also known as Cottage Pie), mainly because I have all the ingredients in the freezer/pantry already. If I go to the store before Thursday, maybe I'll take Bubble and Squeak (which is what I took last time). Other contenders were Irish Stew (but someone else is bringing that) or Cornish Pasties (a little too time-consuming for this week) or Yorkshire Pudding (must be served immediately) or Corned Beef and Cabbage (I'll save that for St. Patrick's Day).  This post is to put all of the links in one spot!

Traditional British Recipes (no pictures so I couldn't pin it, but this is a great resource)

Shepherd's Pie

Bubble and Squeak

Corned Beef


Traditional English Scones

Irish Soda Bread

Coconut Cookies

English Trifle